Fraudsters and digital criminals jump at any opportunity to pervade a marketing campaign. Their only aim is to drain the advertising budget and line up their own pockets. ( shhh, it could either be your competitor who wants to eat away the budgets)
Brands usually have two ways to approach their audience: a direct approach where the aim is to acquire a new customer interested in the product offering .The second approach is to rekindle the existing (or previous) relationship between the user and the product. The second approach is referred to as a retargeting strategy to get the user who has already visited your website, or previously engaged with the products and to offer them more product offerings, thus leading to a conversion. It is important to note that if a user has already shown an interest in the product offered by the brand, they are more likely to re-engage with the brand (requires less convincing), with the condition that the user had had a positive experience previously. This is also one of the reasons that retargeting campaigns attract a higher cost than regular display campaigns.
But, how do fraudsters infiltrate your retargeting campaign?
Remarketing traffic are the users who’ve proven to be legit and active users who’re no longer under the purview of ‘fraud traffic’. When advertisers retarget these users they lower their shield because these users have previously been approached and converted. This is the biggest loophole that is exploited by the fraudsters to deploy attribution hijacking techniques and take away the credit of legitimate partners. With CPA campaigns being higher than CPI campaigns, the existing users re-engage with the product offerings, view, ads and contribute to revenue generation for the advertiser. It then becomes a lucrative way for the fraudsters to enjoy the higher CPA rate (using attribution hijacking techniques). One can well imagine the potential impact when a fraudster enters the remarketing database and the negative amplification of the equation. Click flooding, install hijacking essentially eliminates the legitimate partner from getting the credit for acquired users.
In other such instances, fraudsters deploy bot traffic which makes the shopping real; browsing through the website, adding items to the carts. The ad program doesn’t differentiate between the human and a fake bot thus identifying them as high-quality leads. This becomes a vicious cycle of bots pretending to be humans, ultimately depleting your ad budget.
To conclude, marketing efforts and retargeting campaigns are not immune to fraudsters. Many loopholes can be exploited, new techniques are invented, but as a brand and as a marketer, one needs to be vigilant and deploy tools and solutions to keep these scammers at bay.